Living in the Present

by Kara Daniels

It’s one thing to have a dream, but it’s another thing to actually fulfill it. Not everyone follows through with their dreams. Life always seems to get in the way, that is for certain.

After following my own dream, I soon realized something. I began to almost envy those that have a dream but never chase it. Half of the dream is the expectation we create in our mind. We think of how it could be, how much better life would be if that dream were to come true. But have you ever followed your dream only to find yourself not as fulfilled as you had always expected to be once obtaining it?

Half of the fun of having a dream is just having it in mind. Something to work toward, something to wake up for in the morning, something that keeps you going even on your worst day. Still in our mind, having yet come to life, there are no disappointments.

Our dreams make us who we are. If you didn’t have something you were working toward, you appear pretty lazy and unmotivated, right? We must have something to tell everyone around us that shows that we are working toward success in life. But what if we stopped worrying about what everyone around us thought? Not what they think of our hair or our clothes, but of what we do and why it is we do what we do. Because there is no better feeling than doing exactly what you want to do and not having to explain why to anyone but yourself.

I quit both of my jobs, cancelled my car insurance, froze my cell phone account, packed two suitcases and left my car, home, and family behind to move to an island. It took about two weeks to realize that I did have a pretty great life that I just up and left. I suddenly felt terrible that I took my wonderful job(s), nice car, and beautiful family for granted. At least that was what it felt like. You can call it homesickness, culture shock, or a mental breakdown, but it made me rethink life pretty quickly. There I was surrounded by some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, the nicest mega yachts, and infinity pools overlooking the entire island and it all felt…wrong.

The grass certainly does always look greener on the other side.

I had always heard that it takes about two to three weeks for something to become a routine, to become a pattern. Although there has been much debate about how long it actually takes to get used to something, by the third week I found my mind in a much better place. This came after my slight meltdown, where I decided a trip back home was what I had needed. The best way to realize your love for something is to let it go. Just be mindful of how many times you let something go, because you may not always be able to get it back.

They say every road you take will always lead you back home. However true that may be, who says you can’t go home? Home is always a ticket away. I finally began to understand that you have to appreciate things in the moment, while they are directly in front of you. Unfortunately, I had already booked my flight to return home after I became comfortable with my new life. A couple hundred dollars later, I found myself back in the heart of America, surrounded by corn fields and old familiar places.

Home will always be there, but adventures will always be waiting. To live in the present, you must live slowly and savor your life. Enjoy what is right in front of you at this very moment. Stop worrying about the future and focus on the present. You could work 40+ hours a week in an office to build up your retirement fund and die before you get to use it, or you could be doing exactly what makes you happy right now and say that you lived your life to the fullest. Clichés have proven true more often than not, right?